As we move into 2022, a foremost challenge across the entire home care industry is retaining caregivers – with average turnover rates still exceeding 65%.
However, there is hope.
The 2021 Annual Home Care Pulse Benchmarking Study reveals the main reasons caregivers gave for leaving agencies in 2021, with the majority linking directly to the ‘caregiver experience,’ including:
- lack of training
- poor communication
- inadequate support
- scheduling issues
- lack of recognition/reward
- poor caregiver-client matching
- disorganized/inconsistent care management.
This information provides an ideal opportunity for home care agencies to directly address the issues of high caregiver turnover by placing as much attention on improving their ‘caregiver experience’ as they do on their ‘client experience.’
What is ‘caregiver experience’?
The ‘caregiver experience’ is all about what caregivers encounter and observe throughout their time with an agency, from the hiring process onwards. Everything they experience in their day-to-day work will affect their levels of engagement, motivation, efficiency, and retention.
Company culture is a defining part of any caregiver experience – along with the physical and technological work environment – and will determine how satisfied any caregiver is within an agency.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of all home care providers to ensure the caregiver experience they offer is a great one – if they want to recruit and retain the best.
How can the right technology improve ‘caregiver experience’?
Smart agencies of all sizes recognize that caregivers are their greatest assets and many are looking to technology to modernize their operations and improve their caregiver experience. They realize that this investment will help them sustain crucial competitive advantages well into the future.
The ‘employee experience’ might be a buzzword, but in the home care industry it has a major impact on caregiver and client satisfaction and retention and, ultimately, on your agency’s success. So, how can technology and data-driven solutions help?
1. Improving open channels of communication
One of the top factors affecting the caregiver experience is communication. Poor, rushed, inconsistent or disorganized communication from within an agency leaves caregivers feeling disconnected, frustrated, and lacking support. This can lead to a negative caregiver experience and a high probability of them looking for alternative employment.
Numerous technology solutions are available that can fix this problem overnight, like Smartcare’s mobile app. This can be accessed by all office staff and caregivers, anywhere and anytime – ensuring your team is always connected.
The right app will provide multiple ways for you and your team to communicate effectively, and:
- streamline and organize all communication
- communicate clearly with secure messaging and chat
- virtually check-in with caregivers
- securely add and share documents and information
- automate the caregiver notification process for daily scheduling and open shifts
- support effective collaboration.
Using the right software, like Smartcare, ensures that two-way communication with your caregivers is always fast and fluid, boosting engagement, helping them feel fully supported, and significantly impacting that all-important caregiver experience.
2. Providing scheduling solutions
Another big influence affecting the caregiver experience within home care is scheduling, particularly in agencies where there are insufficient hours, lack of flexibility, and/or inconsistency.
Finding the right scheduling software can boost caregiver satisfaction and retention, in addition to increasing your schedulers’ efficiency, as it will:
- streamline all your home care scheduling and caregiver planning processes
- match caregivers to the best-fit clients
- automate the caregiver notification process via text, email, chat or messaging
- auto-record shift data direct to staff files
- manage last-minute scheduling changes
- fill any open shifts as quickly as possible
- provide flexible client/caregiver schedules and custom views
- reduce costs and save time.
Smartcare Scheduling Tools are just one example of a technology solution for home care scheduling, helping you organize, optimize and simplify your care plans. No more juggling complex scheduling software, spreadsheets, or time-consuming tasks to ensure shift cover. This technology saves time and cost, gives you full scheduling power from one central hub, and maximizes the human connection to guarantee a positive caregiver experience every day.
3. Simplifying care management
One of the biggest advantages of using technology in any industry is automating routine (but time-consuming) tasks. The right technology can provide numerous solutions for caregivers to simplify care management and task recording – optimizing workflow efficiencies, providing real-time access to care plans, schedules, route details, time tracking, documentation, and much more.
The right technology means your caregivers can spend far less time on manual admin tasks, and more time on aspects of their job that they enjoy, like engaging with their clients/patients, upskilling, mentoring, and improving the quality of care they provide.
Of course, the best technology tools for any agency will be those specifically designed for home care, like Smartcare’s easy-to-use home care platform. Many of these systems are customizable and guarantee to meet the needs of your caregivers, increasing engagement and motivation, better connecting them to your agency, and allowing you to:
- track, manage and update caregivers in real-time
- provide automatic daily schedule updates
- monitor and update care information in real-time
- add and access documentation, including care plans
- streamline operations
- save time and maximize the human connection
- significantly improve the caregiver experience at your agency.
4. Maximizing caregiver-client matching
Strong relationships between caregivers and their clients/patients play a significant role in the caregiver experience. Making great matches between your caregivers and clients helps create strong, lasting bonds and is proven to substantially reduce caregiver turnover.
The right technology can provide unique machine learning technology and matching algorithms to ensure your coordinators/schedulers can easily find the right caregiver for the right client every time. It can also allow you to tailor your matching solutions to local market criteria, further cementing the caregiver-client connection, enriching the caregiver experience, and driving even more robust caregiver retention rates.
5. Maintaining caregiver engagement and motivation
Engaged, motivated caregivers are not only more committed and loyal to an agency but also show increased productivity and help an agency grow and be more successful in the future.
Recognition and reward are two powerful tools you can employ to enhance the caregiver experience at your agency, boosting engagement and motivation. And investing in the right technology means this doesn’t have to be a costly or time-consuming retention solution.
For example, embedded loyalty tools can hugely impact caregiver motivation and engagement, change behaviors, and ensure your caregivers are automatically recognized and rewarded daily for their efforts. Smartcare’s Caregiver Rewards system is just one example of how technology can transform your caregivers’ experience in this area.
By using gamification tools, every aspect of the caregiver role can become a more fun, enjoyable, and rewarding experience – motivating them in their day-to-day tasks and personal learning journeys – ensuring they feel appreciated and valued, and going a long way to ensure that all-important positive caregiver experience.
6. Providing real-time data to improve overall caregiver satisfaction
Another great way that technology can help an agency improve its caregiver experience is by providing actionable data to drive better business decisions that improve caregiver satisfaction and efficiency.
For example, if the data reveals that the majority of your caregivers are leaving within the first 30 days, then you will know you need to have a laser-focus on your hiring, orientation and onboarding processes to address this issue.
Home care agencies using Smartcare’s home care platform are leveraging operational, financial, clinical, and business development data insights to drive improvements across the board. Technology like this makes it easy to capture and utilize data insights, and measure key performance indicators (KPIs), to drive best-practice and make better decisions – all leading to better experiences and outcomes for your care team and your clients.
Many home care agencies still rely solely on providing benefits and bonuses to incentivize their caregivers, overlooking the fact that there are other significant factors at play for most caregivers. Although caregivers’ primary motivation for working may be to earn money and benefits, this doesn’t mean they don’t also need to feel happy, satisfied, and fulfilled when doing so.
Particularly since the arrival of COVID-19, home care is seeing more and more caregivers seeking meaningful work, with flexibility, connection, and mentoring/training programs for career development. As a result, the ‘caregiver experience’ an agency provides is becoming more and more vital.
For some agencies, this is going to mean adapting and rethinking how they do things. Agencies that want to attract and retain the top talent in 2022 must take a good look at their employee experience strategy and start working towards providing an excellent caregiver experience from Day 1.
Fortunately, the right technology and data-driven solutions are available to support their efforts and deliver time-efficient and cost-effective results.